What’s Going On With Virgin Atlantic Flying Club?

Filed Under: Virgin Atlantic

Update: This is an update to a post from yesterday to note that it’s once again possible to log into Virgin Atlantic Flying Club accounts and redeem miles. However, the ability to transfer points from Amex and Chase is still temporarily unavailable. Below is the original post in its entirety.


I’ve received quite a few questions from readers about what’s going on with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, and figured I’d address that topic in this post.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club issues

For about a week now, it hasn’t been possible to log into Virgin Atlantic Flying Club accounts. When you go to Virgin Atlantic’s website and try to log-in, you’ll be brought to a page noting “technical issues,” which states that the site will be back up “as soon as possible.”

Not only that, but it looks like most points transfer opportunities to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club have been paused as well. For example, it’s no longer possible to transfer Amex Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic.

What should we make of this?

I haven’t been able to get any better explanation of what exactly is going on beyond the “technical issues” claim. It makes sense that if the program is going to be down, they should also temporarily turn off points transfers, or else that will just lead to frustration.

I wouldn’t read too much into transfers being down, but rather the question is why the program is otherwise down. What should we make of all of this, in light of current circumstances?

Redeeming Virgin Atlantic miles on ANA is a great value

Personally I think Virgin Atlantic will find investors and will be fine (and therefore Flying Club miles will be safe), but that’s just my guess.

What happens to airline miles with bankruptcy?

See this post for what happens to airline miles in the event that an airline goes bankrupt. Long story short:

  • A loyalty program could survive separately from an airline, but it’s unlikely to be as lucrative
  • There’s no rush to redeem miles for flights right now even if you have concerns about Virgin Atlantic’s odds of survival, unless you plan on traveling ASAP; generally partner award tickets wouldn’t be honored in such situations

Virgin Atlantic is fighting for survival

Bottom line

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club accounts have been down for about a week, and it’s now also not possible to transfer points to Virgin Atlantic from some partners. Amex and Chase blocking transfers for now makes sense when you consider the program is otherwise down.

Personally I wouldn’t read too much into Flying Club being down temporarily. Several programs have temporarily cut third party redemptions, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a similar situation.

What do you make of Virgin Atlantic Flying Club’s alleged technical issues?

Comments
  1. It’s very suspicious as not even the staff at the contact centre can make miles redemption bookings, in the past they were able to override the system without issue. It’s been down now for 9 days and I fear the worst is on the horizon.

  2. It’s 2020. It seems incredible that any sort of tech issue could possibly last this long.

  3. I think this is another massive virgin LIE. They have been withholding refunds from customers for 90+ days, they are breaking the law left and right, I’d be surprised if this comes back up, but if it doesn, transfer your miles out while you can.

  4. @Rob problem is we can’t log in to action a transfer and neither can the VS call centre, it’s all totally locked out.

  5. I suspect when they come back, ‘costs will be controlled.’ My guess is that past bookings will be honored, but new Delta/United-like ‘dynamic rewards’ redemptions await.

    If that’s the case, past tickets would likely be honored. But miles in your account (I had 150k+) will probably be worth substantially less.

  6. I’m in the boat of believing these miles are going to disappear. I spoke with someone at VA and did a transfer to Hilton on 29 April. Those miles have never been transferred, so I think it’s safe to say these issues are not related to IT but rather a business decision.

  7. It’s obviously not a technical problem. I had to cancel a flight booked on miles. They refused to give me a confirmation number. I have no way of checking whether the miles have been restored–but I know they have not refunded the quite expensive “tax” they charge.

    It was the worst mileage program, and now it is the worst former mileage program.

  8. I will be so angry if they stop airmiles from being redeemed! We currently have 348,000 airmiles in our account. We’ve saved up for years and use the Virgin credit card to get more miles. As far as I know, our miles are worth £1914.00! That is a lot! We want to book with Virgin for next year but them stopping us logging on at the moment has stopped us from doing booking.

  9. Booked a Virgin Holidays package in January using miles for the original deposit. Forced to rebook for a later date as the flights were cancelled, card payments were transferred to a new booking reference but no sign of the miles payment. Means our new booking is in limbo and has an outstanding balance because of this – if this isn’t resolved within the next few days we’ll be forced to ask for a refund instead.

    If this is a short term cashflow ‘fix’ masked as technical it’s a poorly conceived one as ours along with many other bookings that would have been retained will instead be cash refunds and lost revenue.

  10. I already had in place some bookings with Delta and ANA for later this year, but now I am reading that if Virgin Atlantic goes into reorganization “generally partner award tickets wouldn’t be honored in such situations”. Wouldn’t issued tickets be honored by partners?

  11. Called in today at 800.365.9500. 80 min wait.
    Booked ANA F IAH-HND for next year cherry blossom season (how knows LOL) March 22-27th. Got VS confirmation number. Taxes were only $57.95 – which was strange. Will see how it plays out

  12. Here is another data point. On 4/27 I transferred a large number of VA points to Hilton. I figured I would rather have Hilton points then no points…I just double checked the text message from VA and it said the points would be in my Hilton account within 20 days. That has not happened. I was also told that I would be refunded the taxes on my award ticket that I redeposited and would see the refund within three weeks. That hasn’t happened either.

    In case VA is reading this, its never good to lie to a customer, this is obviously not a technical issue. We like you because you aren’t pricks like BA, but your recent actions are leaving some of us confused and disappointed.

  13. @ tony kline – the big question is whether you received an ANA confirmation number. That tax does seem oddly low – more like Delta award pricing.

  14. @ Andrew – not yet, but seats inventory disappeared from UA search. Again, who knows..

  15. @ Andrew – it seems that taxes have dropped substantially from several hundreds $s according to ITA:

    Fare 1: Carrier NH AX2WC HOU to TYO (rules)
    Passenger type ADT, round trip fare, booking code A
    Covers IAH-HND (First)
    $11,346.50
    Fare 2: Carrier NH AQ2WC TYO to HOU (rules)
    Passenger type ADT, round trip fare, booking code A
    Covers HND-IAH (First)
    $12,632.50
    United States Passenger Civil Aviation Security Service Fee (AY)
    $5.60
    Carrier-imposed surcharge (YQ)
    $2.00
    US Passenger Facility Charge (XF)
    $4.50
    United States APHIS Passenger Fee Passengers (XA)
    $3.96
    Japan Passenger Service Facilities Charge International (SW)
    $24.20
    United States Customs User Fee (YC)
    $5.89
    Japan International Tourist Tax (TK)
    $9.30
    United States Immigration User Fee (XY)
    $7.00
    Subtotal per passenger
    $24,041.45
    Number of passengers
    x1
    Subtotal For 1 adult
    $24,041.45

  16. @ Andrew – yes, I got NH confirmation code and I can see the reservation at ANA website

  17. Totally disgraceful on the Virgin side, extremely poor communication all round.
    Not responding to emails or anything, had an email the other week to say flight cancelled and they would give me a voucher, I don’t want any voucher only a full refund.
    How can you trust a company like Virgin going forward (if they survive) if they wont even communicate with customers openly and honestly

  18. I had a Delta One flight booked for 6/8 which was cancelled. After many many days and many channels I was able to cancel it and get the points and some of the fees applied to a new Delta One booking for September, I finally got a confirmation of the new itineray after 5 days, but it is alarming that it doesn’t show up in my Delta account yet.

  19. I wouldn’t be surprised if VS is trying to prevent mileage redemptions in order to try and force cash bookings. Avios.com, which is the booking portal for EI award flights, had a “technical issue” with online redemptions for more than 30 days recently. You had to call and wait a long time. My assumption is that EI hoped you’d give up and book a cash flight at aerlingus.com VS is possibly doing something similar.

  20. Miles are not attractive anymore.

    Everyone from First to Economy is gonna get the same snackbox. Lounges will no longer serve fresh meals in buffets. The expectation of service and luxury – things that mileage accrual and redemption are seduce travellers – is simply no longer going to exist in the new normal.

    Singapore Airlines is serving snackboxes in ALL classes on ALL flights under 9 hours with no lounge access.

  21. @Name Withheld I assume you mean VS (Virgin Atlantic), rather than VA (Virgin Australia)?

  22. I’m worried that their system could be hacked and held for ransom? I remember one time, one of our software vendors was hacked and held for ransom but they tried to keep it from us.

  23. Sod the transfer lock inbound from the likes of Amex and Chase. I’d be on the phone asking them if they can withdraw any recent deposit to VM and convert bk to Amex points etc.

    9 days and STILL “oh it’s just technical problems” please!

  24. I thought Flying Club was a separate company officially from Virgin Atlantic (same ownership though). I was able to transfer my miles via text to Hilton in early May. The Point Guy had an article about this and was told it was technical as well. Hope thats true cuz I love flying VS!

  25. I called Virgin on 27 April to transfer 150.000 miles to IHG. They confirmed, and miles had been taken from my Flying Club account, but still have not appeared on my IHG acount. Virgin call centre say they can do nothing as the site is down. Very suspicious and I fear my miles are gone.

  26. Don’t you all get the hint from the login page?

    They are parachuting out. What they didn’t show you is that behind them is a burning VS going down in flames about to crash.

  27. Hey Everyone
    My Virgin Atlantic app is now allowing me to log in and see my miles balance and upcoming flights. I also searched for a flight using miles and it seems to work, although I didn’t complete the booking.

    However the website on a PC still doesn’t work!

    Hopefully this is good progress!

  28. Virgin app is now working again. Miles etc are still there likewise all my future flight details. Fingers crossed

  29. If I spent my Virgin Atlantic points on a future flight on ANA and have a confirmed ticket (was able to select my seat and everything), am I okay? Or could they eliminate my ticket if they go bankrupt?

  30. @Andrew C, according to this article, unless you are flying now or in the coming few days, your ANA tix will not in honored if VA goes belly up. If VA goes bankrupt, they won’t be there to pay for your tix and ANA certainly isn’t going to let you fly for free. So far though, lucky doesn’t believe they will go bankrupt so cross your fingers and hope he’s right!

  31. Can access Virgin Flying Club–but the trip I cancelled last week shows up as cancelled the day I originally reserved the flight; miles still not refunded; and fees (nearly $500) also not refunded.

    Perhaps Virgin intends to keep those fees and not refund?
    so so annoying

  32. @ Ben @ Kevin — Bankruptcy reorganization and liquidation are two different things. If VS enters reorganization (as is widely expected), I see no reason why Flying Club would be at risk of not surviving. Of course there would be changes to the program, such as the elimination of the ridiculous ANA awards that should have been changed years ago, but I expect that existing ANA awards would be honored and paid for by VS.

  33. @Gene

    Flying Club can still be ‘reorganized’ out of the picture. Risks are still there. They might survive but miles are reset or worth a fraction, or it remains the same.

  34. Flying Club is back online. My points balance is intact and the search function is working normally.

  35. I have a VA booking, which is now managed allegedly by VH as I added hotel and car.

    Both the VA site and TravelPlus, their hybrid website for booking like mine show details of LGW flights including specific booked 747 seats which are complete fictions and they avoid all forms of contact.

    The one whatsapp conversation I had was withsomeone who insisted the 747s were flying in September and that the flight numbers ex-LGW would fly. Anything but admit to **cancelled by airline** confirming I can get a refund.

    I am due to pay them thousands later in June. I have asked for a section 75 refund on my UK credit card for the deposit instead.

    So much for another lie on the VA website which states ***There’s no need to contact us right now. We’ll be in touch directly with more information on what these changes mean and alternative options by the end of May.***

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